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Anonyfinn "flyingfinn1"
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Oceanic Shadow Scuba Diving Mask - Black
Oceanic Shadow Scuba Diving Mask - Black

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fits like a glove, but downward vision restricted., 25 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Oceanic Shadow Mask (Sports)
Fairly pleased over all, especially for the price. It's standard (tempered) glass, so there is a bit of tint. You don't stand much of a chance adjusting this strap underwater, especially with dry suit gloves on, and if you do you probably have to remove it -- but in theory you shouldn't need to adjust it again once set. The vision isn't especially wide angle, nor is it highly drop-shaped and raked for improved downward vision. The low volume/closeness to eyes doesn't entirely mitigate this. The glass at times rests on my brow (medium-large adult male) and causes a grease spot, which unless you give the glass multiple toothpaste treatments is a place fogging can spread from.

I'm saying all this just to make expectations realistic. So why do I like this mask? The fit and seal of the silicone is wonderful, and it seems to me that the inner seal is wider and softer/more malleable than most -- you don't need much tightening to get a good seal, which is a sign of a good mask. The nose pocket is really thin and flexible for easy equalizing (good size too, with room underneath for a bit of water). Also, the mask seal is just a few extra millimetres wider either side of my eyes than some masks (very pleased), which is more comfortable and more to the point doesn't squish and wrinkle my face in this area (as easily happens when older and when in cold water). This means it doesn't create channels in the skin for water ingress so easily. Basically, it fits like a glove -- for the face.

So why only 3 stars? Well, it does stow very compactly and therefore makes a great back-up to carry (makes no difference in a big dry suit pocket, though), and the fit is good. But I have lost this mask (during some of my pool training work, hope it wasn't swiped!)) and found that I don't miss it as much as I thought I would. The reason for this is the restricted angles of vision with this mask. It isn't very wide angle despite being low profile, but by far the most noticeable thing is the comparative lack of downward vision which makes reading a pressure gauge or adjusting anything about or attached to your BCD more difficult than it should be.

So I've had an 'Andy and Lou' affair with the Oceanic Shadow: I want that one... don't like it.

-- Looks like I have a negative vote already -- always hard to know if it's a miffed retailer or someone who disagrees when there's no comment left. Perhaps I wasn't concise enough? In summary: a very nice fit, put poor angle of vision, especially downward. I tested this by swapping between a Cressi Big Eyes evolution and the Shadow while wearing a shirt with a stripe high on the chest. With the Big Eyes I saw the stripe easily, and with the Shadow I couldn't see it even with my chin on my chest. And that was an accurate test of what I had noticed regarding poor vision while diving. And restricted vision isn't pleasant. Hence, back-up mask only for me. And I wouldn't buy it again.


ACT-5030W Full HD, 12MP Action Cam with 2 inch LCD, 55M Waterproof, Wi-Fi App & Remote
ACT-5030W Full HD, 12MP Action Cam with 2 inch LCD, 55M Waterproof, Wi-Fi App & Remote
Offered by 3wisemonkeys
Price: £59.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Three stars but recommended all the same, 28 Dec. 2015
Over all there's much to like, and it's tempting to give four stars when taking into account the price -- but it's not the only budget Hero alternative out there.

My first camera I returned because it was faulty out of the box and didn't function or respond properly -- could have been corrupted firmware or the electronics I suppose. The replacement worked fine. I use it for scuba diving. The colours on the surface are good, and the resolution seems ok. Battery life is excellent. In caverns with a lot of light and dark contrast, the lighter parts were totally whitened/burnt out, but a lot of cameras would have had difficulty here and perhaps in time some adjustments could be made. The low light performance was pretty good. Oops! I've slipped into the past tense...

Yes, the case has leaked. But to be fair the surface temperature was -5 C and the water 2-3 C. My average rating is because the first camera was faulty, and once I got the memory card stuck because the slot wasn't well aligned with the casing -- which meant that the card couldn't spring out (needed tweezers), and subsequently I had to be very careful clicking it in and out. So, also bearing in mind my first was a dud, for me there are broad issues over reliability and build quality, and at whatever price (and it isn't the cheapest out there), you might expect better performance in these regards.

Even so, I'm not sure other budget cams are any better, or indeed the Hero. So, because of the price, I'd actually consider buying another and would recommend it for consideration. How can I recommend a product I give 3 stars? Because average performance is perhaps as much as can be expected at this price, and some performance aspects are pretty good. You can also buy spares from Denver's website (cases, batteries etc.). The questionable aspect is whether you will feel total satisfaction for the money after some months of ownership. 'Not really' would be my experience; yours may diverge one way or the other based on luck of the draw and usage.


Grahams 10 Years Old Tawny Port 75 cl
Grahams 10 Years Old Tawny Port 75 cl
Offered by UK ONLINE
Price: £21.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This one for Stilton, Taylors for contemplation, 14 Dec. 2015
This is a perfectly good port with plenty of interest. If one thing puts me off buying in this category, it is that I find Taylor's 10 year old tawny more intriguing. Grahams has the distinct elements of fruit, fire (alcohol) and wood, but in my view the wood is subdued and the balance of fire over-pronounced because of this. The fruit is intense, very good raisin and dark cherry with an edge and a hint of liquorish, but the supporting cast lets it down just a tad.

This means there is less interplay between the elements, and less complexity than there could be, from sipping to finish. I'm sure that if you buy Grahams you will not be disappointed, but for me Taylors, as a direct competitor in this class, has a lot more going on from the first instant to minutes after -- the variation is impressively curious. Having said that, the Grahams cuts through and indeed marries with Stilton better, while Taylors is one for solitary contemplation.


Logitech C525 HD Webcam
Logitech C525 HD Webcam
Offered by Locoisle777
Price: £31.75

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good mic, poor picture, not worth it, 11 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
On the plus side, the microphone is good and clear, as people tell me on Skype.

I replaced an old Logitech Pro9000 with this, and hoped that technology had moved on to the point that a good picture could be achieved in this price category. Unfortunately the colour is pitifully washed out. It's simply poor video quality.

If you can afford more and want video quality starting from around the 'pretty good' mark, I would avoid this one. I'm disappointed with it every time.


Hercules HDP DJ-Adv G501 Headphones
Hercules HDP DJ-Adv G501 Headphones
Offered by Retailaneous
Price: £57.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Good sound for the money -- but only as long as they last, 11 Nov. 2015
To be fair, the sound is ok and particularly the bass, and the thick padding makes them a comfy fit over the ears. And you can choose which side to plug them in.

The troubles is, that as other reviewers have said with the benefit of extended trials, they are seemingly made entirely from plastic. There could be metal hidden somewhere, but not where it counts. The plastic ear extenders are very thin and weak, and either due to stress over time or a single event, or both, they simply break (you bend them out a bit every use, and they eventually fracture -- if no one sits on them first). It's an inherently flawed design. So cheapish and reasonably good sound for the money paid, but unfortunately I wouldn't count on keeping them. I can't imagine anyone DJ-ing with these for long.


Cressi  Adult Dry Snorkel - Clear/Yellow
Cressi Adult Dry Snorkel - Clear/Yellow
Offered by gute Angebote Alltag
Price: £11.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cressi's first dry-top effort -- a bit of a failed prototype, 31 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Cressi Adult Dry Snorkel (Sports)
This was Cressi's first attempt at a dry snorkel, and it shows. The reaction time of the stopper is very slow compared to e.g. the Sahara by Beaver, so it does let in more water than a dry-top should. The exhaust valve on the front tries to be different from the mainstream -- but laughably by facing front rather than to the side, it blasts whoever you are looking at. The corrugated, flexible part of the tube is much flappier than most designs, so it wobbles the whole snorkel quite a bit. You really notice when ascending from a free dive. So basically it fails in the key performance and comfort areas in a way the price tag doesn't justify. Actually, maybe this explains the recent price drop.

Cressi will admit this to you, because they resolved all these issues with the Cressi Alpha 'Super-Dry' model, which I suggest you buy over this one - a faster stopper, firmer flexible tubing, and a valve facing towards the wearer and with a blast-diffusing cover. The only problem is that the stopper tends to stick, as the lightweight float mechanism isn't always sufficient to pull the silicone disk back from the top of the tube. Again, the best dry snorkel I have found is the Sahara by Beaver, which has only one tiny minus in that, by a fraction, it isn't quite as streamlined as some others -- but not in a way that would bother most snokellers who value dryness.

So, I've explained the problems, and suggested two alternatives, because a problem is no help without a resolution!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 4, 2016 10:37 AM GMT


Cressi  Adult Dry Snorkel - Clear/Pink
Cressi Adult Dry Snorkel - Clear/Pink
Offered by gute Angebote Alltag
Price: £11.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cressi's first dry-top attempt -- an overpriced prototype, 31 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Cressi Adult Dry Snorkel (Sports)
This was Cressi's first attempt at a dry snorkel, and it shows. The reaction time of the stopper is very slow compared to e.g. the Sahara by Beaver, so it does let in more water than a dry-top should. The exhaust valve on the front tries to be different from the mainstream -- but laughably by facing front rather than to the side, it blasts whoever you are looking at. The corrugated, flexible part of the tube is much flappier than most designs, so it wobbles the whole snorkel quite a bit. You really notice when ascending from a free dive. So basically it fails in the key performance and comfort areas in a way the price tag doesn't justify.

Cressi will admit this to you, because they resolved all these issues with the Cressi Alpha 'Super-Dry' model, which I suggest you buy over this one - a faster stopper, firmer flexible tubing, and a valve facing towards the wearer and with a blast-diffusing cover. The only problem is that the stopper tends to stick, as the lightweight float mechanism isn't always sufficient to pull the silicone disk back from the top of the tube. Again, the best dry snorkel I have found is the Sahara by Beaver, which has only one tiny minus in that, by a fraction, it isn't quite as streamlined as some others -- but not in a way that would bother most snokellers who value dryness.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2016 8:21 AM BST


Collins Gem Italian Phrasebook and Dictionary (Collins Gem)
Collins Gem Italian Phrasebook and Dictionary (Collins Gem)
by Collins Dictionaries
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkably fast start to getting along in Italy, 25 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I found this book fairly useful because, in a small size, it contains clear, easy to reference sections for different scenarios -- such as a menu reader, buying in shops, transportation. There's also a brief Italian-English-Italian dictionary of handy holiday words -- that's why tampons are there, for example. So, the phrases and words were well selected, I thought, for the traveller and holiday maker, and pretty easy to find. You can almost walk into a context, whip it out and start having a go. Not a bad way to start learning a language in-situ!

One drawback which applies to any phrasebook, is that it can teach you how to ask a question, but there's a good chance you won't understand the answer! Phonetically it was basically ok, with easily understood breakdowns of how words are pronounced from the everyday English-language perspective, including stresses. Some pronunciations weren't as accurate as they could be: 'bene' for example is suggested pronounced as 'benay', as if the final e is like a French one with an acute accent. It's not -- both the first and last e sound the same (more like eh, but without breathing the h), and both are short -- if anything the first e sounds longer due to the stress on the first syllable.

So, some of the building blocks of sound offered were somewhat off the mark, but the whole point was accessibility to English speakers attempting Italian. It's not very refined in places, but this serves the purpose of providing a remarkably fast start for holidaymakers or indeed business travellers, and because of this may even offer encouragement to refine one's abilities and study the language in earnest at a later time.

It will also make you friends -- I forgot this book on the first few trips to the fish mongers and more or less had to wave at things. They were quite gratified and thankfully non-judgemental at my attempts when I waved the book, flick-flick (words), flick-flick (words)... fluent overnight!


Aqua Sphere Vista Clear Lens Goggle - Blue
Aqua Sphere Vista Clear Lens Goggle - Blue
Price: £18.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect all-round!, 24 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In my experience on a medium, adult male head, a very comfortable and easily adjustable fit, no leakage at all and a very wide angle of vision. There are grips on the top and bottom for safe removal in thumb and fingers. Great design.This really is a case of 'what's not to like?'.


Cressi Frog Plus Open Heel Scuba Dive Fins (Made in Italy), Black/Yellow, M/L-7.5/8.5
Cressi Frog Plus Open Heel Scuba Dive Fins (Made in Italy), Black/Yellow, M/L-7.5/8.5
Price: £44.20

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Low stiffness limits propulsion and agility -- ok for beginners, 21 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm shoe size 8 (42) and bought these in size M/L, which I combined with Cressi Ultraspan 5mm boots. The foot pocket is fairly generous, and these boots not so thick, so I had the fin straps almost as tight as they would go, a couple of clicks left. So size-wise, I think the fins are pretty harmonious across a range of boot types in the sizes the manufacturer specifies. So I'm very pleased at that since I didn't try them in a shop.

I've had these quite a while and dived a lot, and I've come to the conclusion that they are fine for snorkelers, beginner scuba divers and perhaps those with limited leg mobility who use their arms. But the simple fact is that, for scuba use, they are so flexible that any harder kicking than cruising/meandering with a camera, for example, bends them 90 degrees so there's not much propulsion compared to many other fins. Being able to flex so much has further weakened the fins over time.

So, the product build quality is ok, but I think these should be regarded as beginner level, and you don't have to step up much before these fins may be holding you back in terms of propulsion and manoeuvrability. For scuba you may also want to consider a spring strap, because fiddling with this kind is.. a fiddle -- clipping or unclipping or slackening and tightening straps each time, compared to a simple 'out and up' with a spring strap.


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